September 24, 2018 Subject:
World turns golden
There are no great recordings (wavery AUDs and weirdly EQd Healy mic-matrix experiments but no true SBDs), keeping this a hidden gem for the slightly harder core. This show really excited the Heads at the time and the long 2nd set was talked about as the best of the last couple years - and then immediately lost in the shuffle of the gobsmacking July>Sep shows. People dug the LiG and the Ship [just as reviewers today], and yes that's par during the afterglow on the beach, but the tapes bear witness to a HG. Buried in iffy sources, maybe Healy let someone plug the AUX-OUTs and a SBD will emerge someday to let this show shine.
A favored tape in the blanks-and-postage era. Even though this was a dirt-floored arena, the vibe was fantastic (not true at all SoCal shows). A show partner from a few years prior beamed in and we brought a virgin that briefly got on the bus . There was also weirdness, as perplexingness often materialized. One was the marine layer that bathed the start in fog, adding a strange element, and that seemed like Dead Magic™ when it burned off through the show. There was a taper I had met at a previous show who had been cool, but when I chatted him up he said/did something stunningly rude for a Dead show. This coincided with a period where many tapers decided they wanted we grubby masses to grovel at their luminosity (I was sent a high gen of the show by year's end anyway: the alexander_tetzeli_77268 and in better fidelity than the version here - even on TDK SA90s). The majority of course were cool - after all, this was the happiest place on Earth (screw that mickey mouse operation to the SE) . I spent much of the show with a notebook asking random strangers to write. The book magically made it back to me after being gone an hour or so, at which point a guy sitting by us wrote down what was clearly an inside joke between himself and some friends that were not there. When he showed what he wrote we shared a wordless conversation - laughing at the appropriate moments. There was a premiered song and a couple that I had randomly just never seen, due to their infrequency, so, quite psyched. Like us, our blanket was too dirty and destroyed to save, and on the way out somebody broke down the fence and hundreds of us streamed out onto the beach in the evening sunshine - the day now warmer. What a sight on the Surfer's Point dunes: hundreds of grinning non-beachies. Graham came out and built bonfires on the beach, then showed Reefer Madness (this was an '80s campy/ironic thing) and some goofy cartoons to the campers, on a screen. We were staying with a friend in LA and commuting. While on the 101 Joe Walsh was on the radio being Joe Walsh, sans 5 second delay. We were howling with laughter on the strange drive, turning pro.
First Set. Half-Step Miss starts at a nice tempo. They had played Walkin' Blues at the previous Ventura shows and then a couple more times in between. Previously, it was likely played in '66, though there are no setlist proofs or extant recordings. In 5/82 they backed Boz Scaggs on a version and Bobby then played played it in his side bands before bringing it to the Dead for the Greeks in '85. There were none in '86, then this was the 2nd in '87 and 6th overall. Brent is on piano for the early ones. Though it was just a standard blues song, it seemed like a new song and there was excitement in much of the crowd - though it was not a monster yet. We didn't know it would become common in the next few years. Brent is nice on Row Jimmy and then comes the first-ever Masterpiece. I didn't know Dylan well enough to own Greatest Hits II, but it was recognizably a Dylan tune. Not yet solidified, Jer starts in the wrong key and Bobby overrides with an emphatic G. They were just weeks away from backing Dylan and had surely woodshedded. Healy fucks with Jer's vox, and with a more abrupt/clunked ending it's probably the shortest version. Brent did drastically different keys for awhile after this. The first great one is 7/26, but '89 is when they became ironed and punchy. Push Comes to Shove is a fantastic one - maybe Jer's best Push solo. And check Brent. I also really dig this Friend of the Devil, loving the pace and the solos. It's a freewheeling, anti-claustrophobe Let it Grow. We watched sparks swirl and form a dragon. But objectively, it's one of '87's best versions vis-à-vis Jer's very specific work on the solo, and then the jam section leaves 'em quite happy.
Second Set. The verses may be clunky for Shakedown but the rest is mighty: as they speed up they land in the pocket. The breakdown section for Saint saves it (this is in the "bonus" position). Jer realizes he's on solid footing for Ship and gets the audience in his palm, lifting them skyward and then, with a puff, blasts them across the Pacifying waves. Estimated is just nailed/just right. A powerful version. Parts of Eyes are just astonishing. Drums>Space isn't the enthraller it was the day before and with no Phil rumble The Other One might not capture at first, but it's consistent, tight and uptempo. The level of excitement that had built was surprising even as a non-virgin. The shows had been so laid back but by the time of this Morning Dew there was full levitation. Objectively there are a couple better ones in '87 [9/18], but this rates. The end jam of Sugar Mag hits those heights again and even Black Muddy gets strong.
1st Set: B 2nd Set: B
Overall = 4 stars HG
When Push Comes to Shove - maybe Jer's best Push solo + Brent
Friend of the Devil - fine pace/great solos
Let it Grow - freewheeling & Jer gets specific
Ship of Fools - Jer now puts the audience in his palm
Estimated Prophet - Bobby's not to be upped
Eyes of the World - parts astonishing; go team
The Other One - tight, tempo right, outta sight
Morning Dew - x factor
SOURCES: The thompson_motb_83747 is the best AUD (from not being in the acoustically disadvantaged taping section) and has the goofy halftime pronouncements. The clugston_tetzeli_80715 is patched but the tunings are cut and it runs too fast, needing -2%. The paino_10309 is better and has been EQd, but not repitched and declipped. It has a slight clarity over the miller in the first set but also has the tunings cut. The walker-scotton_miller_83752 is slightly muffled (or maybe just not EQd) but it's pitched right and completely patched. Still not great but the best choice; EQ the shit out of it.
August 16, 2017 Subject:
listened and moved on
June 13, 2012 Subject:
Brent - Walkin Blues
a rare one with him staying on his piano
May 30, 2010 Subject:
Excellent show and sound. Thanks Charlie.
April 9, 2009 Subject:
Ship of Fools
This is one of the best Ship of Fools I've heard. This second set is a smoker! The Estimated is also one of the best. Bobby is screaming like a madman. I had this tape in the late eighties and wore it out. I always go back to this show along with Frost 82 and JFK 89-RIP Brent